I will start by saying it is impossible to look back on this year without being reminded of the many terrible events that have taken place. And in many ways the world seems to have become a scarier place in 2015. However, others have covered (and still cover) those events far better than I ever could.
I was going to call this blog my 2015 highlights. However, when I look back through my blogs , yes there are highlights, but there also things that have intrigued, perplexed and dumbfounded me. So, I will continue to look into the world around me with a writer’s eye, and as always, find inspiration there for future work.
A few nights ago I watched the last episode of the latest David Attenborough series, ‘Hunters’. Having studied Zoology many years ago his projects have always fascinated me. This program, whilst highlighting the plight of some fabulous creatures it also recorded some of the success stories. Of people dedicating themselves to saving these animals. Areas in India where being sensitive to the needs of both people and Tigers, they are seeing Tiger numbers growing for the first time in many years. Where conservation in the US has seen Blue Whale numbers bounce back. Many of these magnificent creatures are still in great danger as highlighted by the Polar Bear. However, it gives me some hope that while man is the cause of the problems, he can also be instrumental in finding solutions.
I Just hope that the latest climate control agreement that is being heralded, as I write, as a great break through, is just that. However, I fear in some cases, that once the ink is dry dedication to acting on that agreement will start to wane.
Some things stay the same
This year I wrote a couple of blogs while on holiday rather than setting them up before I left. One was inspired by a visit to a Roman villa. It was situated on the top of a rise and when I looked around it struck me that the view would have not been unfamiliar to those Romans who lived here so long ago. There were fields of crops and vines, wooded copses and streams. Even the buildings with their terracotta rooves would not have seemed out of place. A reminder in this ever, fast changing world that people, and some of life’s basics, remain much as they have done for thousands of years.
Always a bit of mixed blessing. The pace of progress continues to accelerate. Technology is getting smaller, faster and more powerful all the time. Driverless cars are closer to being a reality. The mapping of the human genome some 12 years ago seems to be having more and more impact on the miracles medicine can achieve. However, I wish some of it would work better. My internet connection still drops out. My pc developed problems which led to three weeks of getting it sorted – and then it seems Microsoft and apple can’t develop products that work together properly (frustration!). Oh, and why is the caps lock key so close to tHE @A@ 11!!
After what felt like many years of marking time (which I’m sure wasn’t the case) we had a resurgence in space exploration and interest in it. I include here Philae at the end of 2014, the amazing feat of landing a washing machine (I know it wasn’t an actual washing machine – just a probe of about that size) on a comet. Then there’s the testing of the Orion rockets which will eventually power a manned mission to Mars. There’s talk about those manned missions, bases on the moon, commercial space flight and more. Space flight is news again.
Yes, I published new books this year: A collection of short stories. A full length novel ‘Bleak – The story of a shapeshifter’ and a 10,000 word prequel to Bleak which is free on Smashwords (if you fancy a read of the festive period). There is always that great feeling of achievement when they go live. What more inspiration do I need to keep working on those next books? I now just (just?) have to work on the marketing
The VW scandal, big organisations and cheating
I include this because there has to be a good story here. I can’t decide whether for VW it was mind boggling stupidity or mind boggling arrogance – or maybe both? Then there’s all the reports of doping in athletics and the corruption in FIFA. It seems big organisations think cheating is not cheating for them, that they are not bound by the same rules as the rest of us, that commercial advantage and ‘winning’ is all there is. It seems that somehow they think they operate in a different world to the ‘little people’. Going forward, we the buyers/supporters of these organisations need to have new ways of holding them to account.
Finally – The Universe and mind boggling facts
In June I blogged 15 mind boggling facts about the universe. They have to be inspiring for a sci-fi writer don’t they? To pick one: ‘There is somewhere between 10 sextillion and 1 septillion stars in the Universe (I’m not even sure what those numbers mean).’
There is much I’ve left out – have a look through this year’s blogs for more. I hope you have a good festive season and an inspiring new year.
As always your thoughts and contributions are welcome.